There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Action Plan! (Thank Goodness.)
All too many of us fall prey to perfectionism. Do any of the following symptoms ring a bell for you?
- You miss self-imposed deadlines for creating new products or services because the new offerings have to be “just right” before you introduce them.
- You often feel that you’re settling or taking the easy way out if you produce something that’s “just” good.
- You have all kinds of ideas for upgrading your website, but you won’t implement any of them because you have to do all of them at once to make it perfect. (This is despite that your last update was done sometime in the last century.)
- You say “no” to opportunities to get in front of your ideal clients because you’re afraid of not doing a perfect job in a new and unfamiliar venue.
- You plan and analyze and prepare and research and plan and refine and tweak and deliberate…and in the meantime, a competitor with the same idea surges ahead of you because she took action while you were simply getting around to it.
You pay a very high price for perfectionism. Emotionally, you lock yourself into feeling that you’re never quite good enough, since nothing ever does – or can – turn out perfectly. You tend to focus on what’s missing rather than what’s already been accomplished, which tends to sap your energy just when you need it most. It makes it almost impossible to celebrate your achievements or accept other people’s congratulations on them.
And that says nothing about the practical costs of perfectionism. It’s practically a cliche of our times: How someone took action on an idea – and reaped the financial rewards – while others were trying to perfect the same idea before taking it to market. Can you even begin to estimate the cost in lost business of saying “no” to a new and uncomfortable opportunity to brand yourself as a subject matter expert?
As a recovering perfectionist myself, I know what I’m talking about. Fortunately, I have numerous people in my work and personal life that refuse to let me get away with playing small under the guise of “making it perfect.” One good friend and colleague, Pat Schuler of Kick Butt Sales Training, has a particular pithy way of goosing me along: “80% and go.” In other words, create a product or service that’s 80% as fabulous as it can be, then throw it out into the world. This reminds me of another quote (and I need help on figuring out who to attribute this to). It goes something like this: “A good plan executed well is better than a perfect plan that’s never acted on.”
How do you nudge yourself out of Perfection Paralysis? How do you convince yourself to be gutsy enough to do a good job, rather than thinking you can do a perfect one? Be a pal and share – maybe you can cut back on the learning curve for the rest of us.This entry was posted in discomfort, Uncategorized and tagged perfectionism, procrastination. Bookmark the permalink.